New Jersey has had its fair share of payouts after police misconduct lawsuits were filed against officers. Here are a few of the highest payouts in the state.
1. The county of Bergen paid $350,000
in April 2015 to settle a lawsuit filed by a police sergeant who claimed he was treated unfairly by after he complained of an ongoing "culture of cronyism" that he said
existed among officers in his department.
The lawsuit, filed in 2012 by Robert Carney, who once led the department's internal affairs unit, targeted Police Chief Brian Higgins and Capt. Uwe Malakas claiming they allowed other officers to tamper with and steal evidence, illegally discharge firearms, and falsify police reports.
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Carney said in his suit that two live rounds of ammunition were taped to his department locker in an act of intimidation. He also alleged he was threatened, demoted, and had letters of commendation removed from his personnel files.
The case did not go to trial, and the payout does not imply guilt.
2. In July 2015, the New Jersey borough of Woodland Park
settled a false arrest lawsuit for $257,000, according to NJ Civil Settlements
The settlement stems from a 2010 lawsuit brought by Michael and Robin McDuffie, who claimed they were arrested, abused, and threatened after an altercation in their driveway with a public works employee while removing snow.
They claimed that the employee used racial epithets against them and then called police, who arrived at their home with weapons drawn. When Robin Duffie urged a family member to get a video camera to capture the fracas on tape, police allegedly pepper sprayed her.
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The couple was later taken to jail and arrested for aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, according to their complaint
After six hours, they were released by police. Later, a grand jury declined to hand up an indictment. All charges against them were eventually dropped. The settlement also contained a confidentiality clause and does not imply guilt.
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